A burst of vibrant colours has swept across Muizenberg and Kalk Bay this month thanks to artists taking part in a mural campaign to promote marine conservation.
Fifteen artists painted the large-scale murals from Friday November 3 to Saturday November 11 as part of Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans, a global public art programme by the PangeaSeed Foundation – a Hawaii-based ocean-conservation non-profit organisation – to bring the oceans into the streets.
Claire Homewood, also known as CareCreative – HC360, decorated the Muizenberg civic centre with her mural, Our Great African Sea Forest.
“It’s our job to protect it because there are threats like overfishing, plastic pollution, ocean mining, chemical waste, and poaching, and most people just don’t know about it. But the good news is that despite these threats, our Great African Sea Forest is growing,“ she said.
Breeze Yoko’s mural behind the Kalk Bay train station and next to the Brass Bell restaurant pays tribute to the community of the Kalk Bay flats.
It features Traci Kwaai, a diver and founder of The Fisher Child Project, which connects children with the ocean through activities like snorkelling and diving.
The mural also references Ms Kwaai’s great-grandfather, Peter Schouw, known as the Octopus King for harvesting octopuses, in the early 1900s, on the beach where the mural is now. At the age of 70, he died of heart failure on those very rocks.
Additionally the artwork also features Charlotte Daniels, who is known for making fishermen’s oilskins.
Boats are included in the mural to show their significance to the local fishermen.
“I hope that people see the mural and understand the significance of preserving our community’s history and highlighting stories that often go unnoticed. It’s a tribute to the Kalk Bay flats and their rich history,” he said.
Graffiti artist Sergical One, of Muizenberg, created a mural, Reconnect to Nature One Breath At A Time, on the Cape Town Freediving building at 20 Main Road, Muizenberg.
“My mural speaks to our racial injustices of our past, painting a modern Khoe ‘womb-man’ of colour in an ocean environment will hopefully encourage us to reconnect to our natural spaces, whether it is in the ocean or the mountains. The connection we have to the plants, animals, and to ourselves is one of the keys to better know ourselves and to appreciate the wonders around us,” he said.
Catch of the Day, a Whale of a Problem, by Njabulo Hlophe, known as Dirty Native Chief, an artist from Johannesburg, is on Muizenberg Beach.
“The whale symbolises the magnitude of the plastic pollution problem, prompting viewers to reflect on their role in addressing the issue,” he said.
The Muizenberg Improvement District sponsored the mural by Sergical One.
“Urban art plays a crucial role in giving Muizenberg its unique identity. It serves as a beautiful and educational way to enhance the area. Considering the significance of the sea to Muizenberg, it’s vital to use art to educate people about the ocean and the importance of its preservation,” said its chairman, Simon Roberts.
Shani Judes, director of the South African Sea Walls project, said: “I think that the murals definitely speak to the topics, and that we achieved exactly what we were going for. I hope that the messages will spread throughout the communities.“